I have a hard time sitting still, so even during my “relaxation” time in front of the TV in the evenings, I like to have something to do. Sewing is kind of hard to do if your machine isn’t already in front of the TV, so one of my favorite Idiot Box crafts is hand embroidery.
Here are a couple of Halloween themed pieces I’ve been working on::
I think I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been obsessed with vintage Halloween decorations lately, so that’s where the inspiration for these came from. Continue reading…
Duck Tape® is hosting its annual Stick or Treat Contest! All you have to do to enter is submit an image of a Halloween pumpkin (real or fake) decorated with Duck Tape® at the Stick or Treat Contest™ website.
A Halloween contest? Any excuse to make more Halloween decorations, and I’m in!
The contest is already running and wraps up on October 31st. The winners will be announced on November 11th.
Here are the prizes up for grabs: First Place: $1,000 and a Cricut Mini® Personal Electronic Cutter Second Place: $500 Third Place: $300
Here’s my entry:
I’ve been kind of obsessed with vintage Halloween decorations lately, so this is my retro Halloween cat.
This is such an easy way to decorate a pumpkin, it would be great for kids that aren’t old enough to wield a knife on their own. Continue reading…
Behold! The closet door in my studio. Perfectly functional (though knobless), it is boring, boring, boring. Believe it or not, this boring whiteness is an improvement on what it looked like when we moved in, but boring is boring.
My plan all along had been to go a little crazy with the closet door. (Because the lime green on the walls wasn't crazy enough, I guess.) I thought maybe stripes or zebra or chevron.
Finishing the door got put on the back burner, but then something serendipitous happened. I got to try out some samples of the new Shape Tape. And guess what? THEY HAVE CHEVRON.
So now something that would have taken a weekend of prep and measuring and stencilling and painting only took me about an hour and a half!
The taping and prep took the longest (and I've learned that putting in the time for prepping is often the difference between a good paint job and a bad paint job). But the time I spent taping made the painting part a breeze!
Done! The turquoise (or Smurf blue, as Mr. Smarmy calls it) was leftover from a hallway we painted upstairs.
After all the painting we did when we moved into this house, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject, so here are my tips!
No matter how small the job, always always always change into old clothes. I didn't follow this advice and wound up with a glop of paint on my NEW shirt and BEST jeans 30 seconds into this project. Dumb!
Invest in a few quality brushes- they make a huge difference, and if you take care of them (i.e. wash them well when you're done), they will last forever! For water based (latex and acrylic) paints, make sure you buy brushes with synthetic bristles. Natural bristles will absorb the water in water based paints, and you don't want that.
Do your paint research! Buy the right paint for the right application (interior or exterior? flat or eggshell or gloss? water based or oil based?), and find a brand with good reviews before buying! In my first painting projects, I had drips like crazy! I thought I was a bad painter, but it turns out, I was using crappy paint.
As I mentioned briefly above: proper prep can make or break your paint job. Make sure your surface is clean and dust free. Fill and sand any holes and allow the proper drying/curing time for the filler. Apply quality primer if necessary. Put down drop cloths to protect your furniture and the floor (YOU WILL DRIP AND SPLATTER. Trust me.). Apply tape as needed and press all tape edges with a flat edge to make sure you've got maximum adhesion.
This post brought to you by Dollar General. All opinions are 100% mine.
In addition to being my favorite holiday and time of year, it’s also by far my busiest season. So I often wind up short changing myself on the celebration front.
Not this year! This year I promised myself I would set aside time to decorate and craft. There will be baking! And candy making! And pumpkin carving! And the crafting of spooky things! And most importantly: decorating!
This is a little vignette I set up in my kitchen, featuring some of my All Hallow’s Eve decoration- some new and some old.
(Mr. Smarmy even said he liked the decorations- totally unsolicited. Usually he’s not one to comment much on such superfluous things, but it just goes to show: NO ONE can resist the temptation of HALLOWEEN! Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loves Halloween.)
The jackolantern filled with xmas lights was the first faux pumpkin I carved a few years ago- I’ve decided to carve a new one each year, so eventually I’ll have a jackolantern army (which will spend most of it’s time guarding my garage, I suppose).
The owl is a vintage thrift find of my brother’s. He was brown up until a few days ago when I gave him a Halloween makeover (quickie tutorial coming soon!).
And I scored the set of metallic jackolanterns on clearance last year after Halloween.
The new additions to my collection are all decorations I snagged from the Halloween supplies at Dollar General: the glittery orange skull, jackolantern tin that I filled with pinecones, mini pumpkins, and rubber bat ($1 a bat… I seriously wanted to buy the store out and string them up in the trees outside).
Check out your local Dollar General and let me know what favorite Halloween goodies you find!
I’ve read your article about pricing, and while I love the theory of pricing based on labor and I agree that my skills should be at least $20 or more, who in the world would pay $60 for a little scarf just because it’s handmade?
Take a look at Etsy and there are plenty of scarves selling (just check the seller’s sold items and number of sales) for $60 and more. Yes, there really are people who will pay the price of handmade simply because they appreciate the time, and they value the quality.
There are even more people who will pay a premium if it’s really something special- perhaps it’s because you use the highest quality fibers, or dye the yarn yourself in patterns and colors no one has seen before, or because the particular crochet pattern is something unique.
Rococo Knit Shawl / Wrap by ElenaRosenberg
This is where the frustration comes from when people say, “I could get that for $5 at Walmart.” Because no- there is not a single item in my shop you could get a Walmart. Yes, you can buy a dress at Walmart or a dress from me, but they are certainly not the same dress. Not even close.
That being said, if you are selling something that really could be had for $5 at Walmart, then that may be a problem. It would be very difficult to compete directly with the largest retailer in the world- even other large retailers have failed at that.
The trick is to find that magic “something” that makes people go, “Oh! I really can’t get that anywhere else!” That takes the competition right out of the game.
My busy season started a little early this year, so I haven’t been posting garden updates like I had intended.
Well, hold on to your butts, because here come some pictures of flowers and things.
The first up are nasturtiums. Usually I get whatever mix they have at the store, but then I saw this photo of the trailing nasturtiums in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum courtyard in Boston. I NEEDED trailing nasturtiums!
These are what I settled on:
They’re called “Moonlight”. A nice creamy yellow. The foliage (which always reminds me of lily pads) is a little darker green than the nasturtiums I’ve grown before. Continue reading…
This post brought to you by Duck Brand®. All opinions are 100% mine.
Once upon a time, I wanted a dry erase board for my fridge. Then I had this possibly-genius realization: Hey! My big ass white fridge kind of looks like a giant dry erase board! I bet I can just write all over it!
Luckily (and quite out of character for me, to be quite honest), I decided to test a dry erase marker in a very small spot on the side of the fridge first. This was lucky because my fridge, as it turns out, is not one big dry erase board. The marker actually wouldn’t come off! (I was later able to remove the mark with a magic eraser. Crisis averted!)
Okay, so that didn’t work. But what about this? I bet clear contact paper would work. Slap a layer of that on the fridge and use the marker on that!
Tried it. Marker didn’t wipe off.
Next idea… what about press n seal wrap? I tested the marker on it BEFORE I put it all over the fridge this time. And it worked!
So I stuck it on the fridge and discovered that the weird bumpy texture of the fridge made it very difficult to erase the writing.
So finally I gave up on the fridge-as-giant-dry-erase-board dream and settled on this little dinky thing:
DRY ERASE LAMINATE! (They also have rad patterns like chevron, holographic stars, zebra print, AND… CHALK BOARD!)
I wanted to note that it lists the adhesive as being permanent, however it IS removable. I had to reposition mine a few times and it sticks really nice but doesn’t leave any sort of residue behind. Perfect if you’re renting and don’t own your appliances, walls, etc., or if you just don’t want to commit to a dry erase fridge forever. Obviously it would be a good idea to test it on a surface before plastering your entire house with it.
I cut out a sheet big enough to cover the top door and started sticking! I made sure to clean the door first and I removed the handle, though it probably would have been fine to leave the handle in place while I worked.
I got it as smooth as I could, but there was this pesky branding doo-hickey on the door. So I smoothed right up to it and then cut around it with a craft knife (if you don’t own your fridge- or even if you do- please be very gentle with the knife or you run the risk of scratching the finish).
Well, so far I have not met my New Year’s Resolution goal of one new pattern a month. But I did at least meet the goal of having this pattern ready before Halloween!
The newest WhatTheCraft Pattern is the Ruffle Bustle Skirt! This voluminous tie-on bustle skirt is the perfect accessory for any steampunk, burlesque, or Halloween costume- complete your look with a corset and a pair of bloomers or leggings! The skirt has an open front with three lace trimmed, ruffled layers that cascade around your hips, emphasizing your feminine curves. The satin ribbon ties at the waist allow for flexible sizing.
The sample I made is Queen of Hearts inspired, now I’m thinking versions for Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter are in order! These bustle skirts would be so awesome for a group costume theme.